'Lie to Me' - 'React to Contact': A soldier's story
A quick review of last night's "Lie to Me" - guest-starring beloved in these parts actor Enver Gjokaj from "Dollhouse" - coming up just as soon as I take off my shoes...
If Joss Whedon had accomplished nothing else with "Dollhouse," the series still would have been worth it for the discovery(*) of Gjokaj, who turned out to not only be an expert mimic (playing other characters on the show at various points, so well that you'd start to wonder if they were dubbing in the co-star's voice) but an outstanding pure dramatic actor, and he and Dichen Lachman eventually and deservedly became the real emotional center of that show.
(*) And, yes, he had appeared in a bunch of things before this, including an episode of the Shawn Ryan-produced "The Unit" that no doubt led to him being cast here alongside Michael Irby. But for all intents and purposes, "Dollhouse" is where anyone who's aware of his existence became aware of it.
So I was curious to see how he'd do away from Joss Whedon's keyboard, and he was, indeed, excellent as the traumatized Iraq War veteran.
However, I had some larger structural problems with "React to Contact" - specifically with the question of what Lightman and Foster were even doing with this guy. Yes, the show has established in the past that they work a wide variety of cases, but this one seemed to be stretching the idea of what is a "lie" to a real extreme in order to shoehorn this story into this series. Ultimately, Cal and Gillian's expertise proved useful, but it just didn't make sense that they would be called in in the first place.
I also didn't love the use of virtual reality as part of Dr. Foster's technique. The idea seems sound; the presentation, on the other hand (even with the deliberately video game-style graphics) made the interface seem like magic, as it so often does whenever Hollywood tries to use VR as a storytelling device.
There were a lot of dangling pieces like that. Good performances, but not an episode that really hung together as a whole.
I know we have some "Lie to Me" fans around here, and I wouldn't be surprised if some "Dollhouse" fans checked out the show for the first time. Either way, what did you think?